Fire Burns at 55-Plus Development

By Dan Stamm
|  Tuesday, Feb 25, 2014  |  Updated 12:08 PM EDT
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A fire investigation is underway into what caused a Berks County apartment building intended for 55-plus residents went up in flames.

NBC10.com

A fire investigation is underway into what caused a Berks County apartment building intended for 55-plus residents went up in flames.

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A passing motorist spotted a blaze at a new 55-and-over development this morning.

Firefighters in Berks County, Pa. quickly responded to the blaze at the intersection of Legacy Boulevard and Calming Trail in Lower Heidelberg Township around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The building at the construction site at Legacy at the Papermill was already engulfed in flames, according to Western Berks Fire Chief Jeff Weidner.

The fire quickly expanded to three alarms as it burned for hours despite being brought under control within about an hour, according to firefighters.

No injuries were reported.

As SkyForce10 hovered overhead you could see the massive amount of damage. An entire four-story building was smoldering as only the elevator shaft remained standing.

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The part of the building that caught fire was under construction, according to a community plan posted to the Berks Homes website.

Fire officials said the building, intended to be 55-and-over apartments, was just plywood and studs but drywall had not yet been hung.

Weidner said about 50 firefighters from 12 surrounding departments responded to the blaze.

Those crews eventually pulled back and appeared to be content with letting the fire burn itself out. More than four hours after it began, the fire continued to burn but remained contained to the outline of the one building.

The facade of a neighboring building also appeared burned but that building remained standing.

Weidner said the fire marshal's determination for a cause likely won't be ready today.

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